7s Model: Evaluate Your Business Strategic Plan

Close up of chess pieces

Starting a new company can be difficult. There are several factors that contribute to why some businesses fail when others don’t for example too little capital, too much overhead, or simply wrong timing to name a few. However, many fail simply because of poor strategic planning. Of the many tools available to help businesses properly prepare a strategic plan, one of the best is the 7s model.

What is the 7s Model?

In the late 1970s, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman developed the 7s model. The model is a strategic planning tool that incorporates the following 7 elements of business structure: strategy, structure, systems, skills, staff, style, and shared values. In the 7s model, all 7 areas are interconnected therefore a change in one area constitutes a change to all other areas of the organization.

The 7s are split into two groups. One group is the “Hard S” group, strategy, structure, and systems. The other is the “Soft S” group, skills, staff, style, and shared values. The “Hard S” group consists of areas that are easier to influence and develop, such as a vision or mission statement or workflow charts. The “Soft S” group can be more challenging to control. This is due to the ever-changing nature of company culture, staff capabilities, and corporate culture.

“Hard S’s”

  • Strategy: A plan developed to enhance the competitive position of the company.
  • Structure: Company organization including teams.
  • Systems: All daily procedures and activities that determine job completion.

“Soft S’s”

  • Skills: The well-performed abilities, capabilities, and competencies of the staff.
  • Staff: The type and number of employees the organization employs. Also, how employee training, recruitment, and motivation.
  • Shared Values: What guides the employees’ behaviors and development of the company culture.
  • Style: How top-level management interacts and manages the organization.

To sum up, the model appears simple, it can be challenging to actually implement. It is best to start by correctly identifying each of the 7s of the business. An accurate representation of the business will define which areas need to be altered in order to align with the model. This is what makes the model such a powerful tool. It can be used many times throughout the life of a business to make sure that the organization is always on track, no matter what stage it is currently in. If any element does not align with the others, make the proper changes, and re-evaluate.

Download our 7s Model to identify and align each of the 7s of your business!

By: Benjamin Levie